Thursday, November 15, 2012

25 things I miss about childhood

Issa and I are cheerleading each other through the month of November. Today and tomorrow we are spinning off of Elan's prompt of 25 Things I Miss About Childhood and 25 Things I Don't. Only, we are doing them in two days instead of just one. Because we could use the extra post, quite frankly.

So today, we bring you the 25 things we do miss about childhood. Here are Issa's 25 Things (which I haven't read yet because I didn't want to be all, "Oh! Me too!"). Here are mine:

1. Places to hide. There was an empty lot next door to us when we moved into our new house in 1979. It was overgrown in the back half, and although now, I realize it was just weeds and bushes, back then, it felt like I was getting lost in a forest. A builder left some bricks behind, and I built myself a fort. Read: small brick wall. It was my favorite place to read. I would also climb up onto the shelf in my closet above the rack for my clothes. I could sit up there and hide from my brother, or I could pretend it was my very own clubhouse. I always loved a fort.

2. Birthday parties. I miss other people's birthday parties. Mainly the cake. Rather, the anticipation of whether or not I would get an icing rose.

3. Getting a treat at the Tote-Sum. There was a convinence store on the way home from our school that wasn't a gas station - it was just a convinence store. It was called the Tote-Sum, and everyday, we would try and convince whatever mom was driving carpool that day to stop and buy us all a treat. Presumptious, right? But some days, they would do it. And we would pile into the Tote-Sum, pick out a piece of candy, and then pile back into the car. Sans seatbelts, of course.

4. Saturday morning cartoons. Bugs Bunny. The Smurfs.

5. Packing for a car trip. Deciding what would go in that bag was almost better than the adventure itself. Having to entertain myself confined to my half of the backseat was akin to number 1 on my list. It was like having my own little fort back there, and time to read as many books for as long as I wanted to read them.

6. Picking out an animal to hide in my daddy's bag when he had to travel. Daddy had to have some company. I used to sneak into his room while his suitcase was still open and stash one of my furry friends in it so that he wouldn't be lonely in his hotel rooms.

7. Spending the night with my grandmother. Even when she tried to curl my hair, I still loved being with her. She taught me how to make scrambled eggs, bake a cake, and never minded that my favorite thing to do was plunder through her belongings. I loved seeing what she had saved and collected over the years. Speaking of collecting, I miss

8. Watching her sew. I never thought I would miss that, but I do. She collected piles upon piles of fabric that she bought when it was on sale or just because it was beautiful. One time, she showed me how to thread the sewing machine, even though she was mostly blind at the time, and asked me to get the thread through the eye of the needle for her. I miss helping her, knowing now that she was really teaching me all the time.

9. Spaghettios and what I called Raviolios. So basically, pasta from a can. Yeah. Gross.

10. Riding my bike. All afternoon. All alone. All through the neighborhood. Without a helmet.

11. Pretend play. I miss getting lost in a story of good and evil. I miss pretending I'm a Smurf with my friend Amy. I miss the simple improvisation of childhood. My boys play this way together already, and I can't seem to slip back into it again. I was a perfectly useless Princess Lea in the backyard this past weekend.

12. Hunting Eater Eggs with my granddaddy. Every year. Into my 20's.

13. Sitting at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning with my brother. Every year. Even the first year he was married. My new sister-in-law joined us on the landing. We had coffee and groaned a lot, but I'm glad we had that one last time.

14. Sleeping on his floor the night before. My grandparents would spend the night at our house, even though they only lived about a mile away. It was just easier for everyone to come down in their pajamas at the crack of dawn. So I made a pallet and a fort with pillows and burrowed myself down into it to sleep at the foot of my brother's bed. Then I would sleep there for as many more nights as I could get away with past that too.

15. Going to the library and getting a huge stack of books that I actually had time to read. I have always gotten lost in books. Still do. That's why I rarely read anymore. My children have to eat.

16. Playing the piano and getting new music. I loved being able to just sit and play. I could play the same piece over and over and over again, just soaking in the colors and the harmonies that I loved about it - or I could sit with a new book and read straight through it, sight reading my way to a musical high.

17. Talking to my stuffed animals. They each had their own voice. Their own name. Their own story. Elaborate stories that I developed with my friend, Jill, who had moved away to Texas when we were five. We were pen pals, but our animals were pen pals too. Come to think of it, I guess Jill was my first writing group.

18. Peeling the skin off the top of the pudding. You know, pudding that your mom actually cooked on the stove top.

19. Getting my standardized test results back. I loved nothing more than staring at those results. I didn't know how I always did well, but I did. I didn't care that it actually had nothing to do with everyday life. 99th percentile? I'll take it. I would love to be in the 99th percentile for something today.

20. Asking if someone could come over and play. Playdates weren't in existence. Friends were found on a spontaneous basis. If they were home and someone could get them to your house, then you played.

21. A big bowl of peanut butter with chocolate chips stirred into it. Eaten with a spoon.

22. A plate of melted cheddar cheese. Product of the new microwave in our house. Eaten with a fork.

23. Singing John Denver in the backseat of our car. Singing it out of key when my brother bugged me to stop singing at all (yes, the beginning of the "let's sing wrong" game that I continue today). Making up my own harmony when my family would tolerate it.

24. Pretending my bed or the living room couch was a boat. Apparently, I enjoyed being trapped as a child. Perhaps I should bring this up in therapy.

25. My daddy.